In 2010, Felipe Montez was separated from his three children after federal immigration authorities deported him to his native Mexico. The children’s American-citizen mother is unable work or care for the boys, due to mental health problems, so the children were placed in two foster homes. Now, the two foster homes would like to adopt the boys, but Montez is proving to be a “problem.”
According to this article, “Montez never agreed to surrender custody or willingly ceased contact with his sons. He has never been accused of mistreating his children. And, he wants to raise his children in Mexico.”
On August 10th, a judge will decide the children’s fate. Montez’s court-appointed lawyer has said that all Montez wants is to parent his own children.
This sounds reasonable enough; so what’s the problem?
According to this article, “Last year, there were at least 5,100 children living in foster care across the United States because their parents had been deported or detained by immigration authorities.”
It was also reported that Seth Wessler, a researcher at the Applied Research Center, said, “Deported parents are treated as if they have fallen off the face of the earth or, there is an argument made that children are better off in the United States, even if that is with stranger, than with their parents in another country.”
For various reasons stated in this article, is appears to be very difficult for a deported parent to regain custody of his or her own children; and social workers seem to struggle with the challenge of reconnecting these families. Wessler also claimed to find multiple cases where child welfare workers stated that “parents were unfit, irresponsible or a danger to their children because of their immigration status alone.”
Gilliam Chistensen, an U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) spokeswoman, is quoted in this article, saying, “ICE works with individuals in removal [deportation] proceedings to ensure they have ample opportunity to make important decisions regarding the care and custody of their children. Furthermore, as outlined in the agency’s June 2010 Civil Enforcement Priorities memo, ICE will typically not detain individuals who are the primary caretakers of children.”
I want to make it clear that I, admittedly, know very little about immigration laws and enforcement procedures. I am not an authority on this topic. I do not know how big this “problem” is, and I don’t want to discuss whether or not immigration laws are fair or enforced properly.
I simply wish to voice my current opinion on what a recent article implied.
A seemingly good father was separated from his children, against his will, and he would like them back. I think he should get them back. In my opinion, all a child really needs is pure love, wise guidance, sound education, healthy food in the belly, and a safe, stable roof over his or her head. I don’t know if the father can provide this, but I feel he should be given the opportunity to do so. All parents should be given that opportunity, and all parents should want this for their children. Don’t you think?
What do you think? Children and Parents Separated